Every year, big names are floated around in the trade market when the Winter Meetings roll around. This year is no different, with several big-name pitchers, including former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, rumored to be available. Let's look at a potential trade package created by The Athletic's Jim Bowden that would send Burnes to Charm City.
Bowden's proposal featured one of either Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, or Coby Mayo, with Cade Povich and Frederick Bencosme as well to finish off the deal. The Orioles would land the Brewers ace in return.
Cowser, Kjerstad, or Mayo would be the headliner of the deal, with the three players ranking in the top 4 among Orioles prospects (according to MLB Pipeline). Cowser is the Orioles number two prospect, ranking 14th in the entire MLB. As for Kjerstad, he falls in at number 3 for the Orioles and breaks the top 25 among the entire MLB, sitting at 24th overall. Finally, Coby Mayo's stellar season saw him jump to the Orioles number 4 spot and 27th overall.
Povich and Bencosme may not be as highly touted as Cowser, Kjerstad, and Mayo, but they are two solid prospects that would be heading the Brewers way. Povich ranks as the Orioles 11th best prospect and their second-best pitching prospect. As for Bencosme, he sits at the 23rd spot in the Orioles top 30 while being just 20 years old.
Does the deal work?
I may not have any insider information, but I would think a deal similar to this would be enough to send Burnes to Baltimore. Burnes has just one year of control left before hitting free agency, and he's had open disputes with the Brewers in the past regarding his pay. It seems very possible that the Brewers would move him this off-season rather than lose him in free agency a year from now.
It may be tough for the Brewers to give up their ace and one of the top pitchers in baseball, but the Orioles package would be a very compelling offer. As I mentioned earlier, they'd be receiving a top 30 prospect with any choice of Cowser, Kjerstad, or Mayo. They'd also be receiving a major league ready pitcher in Povich and another high upside prospect in Bencosme. That's a substantial package for a one year rental.
As for the Orioles, it would obviously be tough giving up one of Cowser, Mayo, or Kjerstad, but that may be the price for a legit shot at a World Series. Those three players look like promising major league talents, but the addition of Corbin Burnes would give the Orioles one of the most formidable top of the rotations in all of baseball. A rotation consisting of Burnes, Kyle Bradish, and Grayson Rodriguez at the top would be as good as any top 3 in baseball.
The Orioles have been building their farm system ever since Mike Elias took over, and for the past couple seasons, it's been the best in all of baseball. They have a surplus of elite prospects and only a limited amount of roster spots. I think this is the type of move that Elias must be willing to make.
In short, I think this mock trade from Jim Bowden represents very equal value for both sides. This trade may not be likely, but I think both teams would be satisfied with their returns in this hypothetical deal.